Bugs and Insects Theme for Preschool

Bugs and Insects! We use these terms interchangeably, though they are different! Bugs are one type of insect. True bugs, as they are called, have a straw-like mouth. Some true bugs are stinkbugs, assassin bugs and others. Ladybugs are NOT actually bugs! And spiders are neither bugs nor insects! However, in preschool, all crawly things are bugs and insects and they are creepy and cool at the same time!

This theme is endless in the possible activities and adventures your preschoolers can participate in!

This Bugs and Insects Theme page is filled with preschool activities and ideas for all areas of your classroom.

Let the Theme planning begin!

You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your Bugs and Insects Theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.

BUGS AND INSECTS THEME ACTIVITIES

Art Activities Block Area

Circle Time Activities Cooking Recipes

Dramatic Play Ideas Easel Ideas

Gross Motor Games Library and Literacy

Math And Manipulatives Activities Music and Movement

Sand and Water Table Science Activities

Writing Activities Miscellaneous Ideas

Looking for a Caterpillars and Butterflies Theme?

CLICK HERE to go to the CATERPILLARS AND BUTTERFLIES Theme Page

Art Activities

Bugs and Insects Theme Art

Fingerprint Creepers

Materials Needed: washable, colored ink pads; white paper; colored markers or colored pencils.

The children press their fingers into the stamp pads and make fingerprints on their papers.

They use the markers and/or pencils to make wings, feet, eyes, antenae, etc. Encourage them to draw where their bugs and insects live as well (a drainpipe, house, tree, etc.)

Spider Web Sticker Art

Materials Needed: spider stickers, blue or black paper, white crayons or white chalk.

The children draw their own version of a spider web and then add spiders where they want them. Add bugs and insects stickers as well to "feed" the spiders!

Buggy Puppets

Materials Needed: brown or white paper lunch-sized bags, googly eyes, all kinds of miscellaneous materials (we include precut rectangles for legs, etc.)

Show the children which section of the bag to glue the google eyes to and then they decorate away. These would be great to use with some of the songs listed under the Music/Movement Section below!

Bug Rocks

Materials: rocks and stones of various sizes, glue, markers or paint, googly eyes and other miscellaneous arts and crafts supplies

Let the children create their own pet bug rock!

Handprint Spiders

Materials Needed: Fingerpaint paper, fingerpaint, google eyes

Crease the paper in half. Open paper up.

The children make one handprint on the left side of the paper. Fold the paper closed and press.

Open to reveal a mirrored image of their spider! When dry add googly eyes.

EXTENSION: After they have made one handprint, give them more paper to fingerpaint away!

Create A Bug

Materials: Cardboard egg cartons, pom poms, pipe cleaners, hole punchers, googly eyes, paint,etc.

Let the children create their own bugs. Preschoolers are so creative, let them just make up their own bugs!

Return to Top

Block Area

Bugs and Insects Theme Block Center Ideas

Add small stuffed bugs or bug puppets to your block area for the children to make homes for!

Return to Top

Circle Time Activities

Bugs and Insects Theme Circle Time Ideas

Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your Space Theme!

Insect Inspection

Materials Needed: Show the children some pictures of insects. Then pass out some plastic insects (one for each child). Have them find these items on their insects:

All insects have 3 body parts: the head, the thorax (middle) and the abdomen.

All insects have 6 legs.

All insects have antenae. What do they use these for (touching and detecting odors!)

Some insects have wings. Does yours have wings?

Bug Chart

After reading a bug story and briefly looking at some non-fiction books with pictures of bugs, list on a chart if the children like bugs or not.

Compare the results- do more people like bugs or NOT like bugs?

Be a Fly!

Have the children lie on their backs and look at the ceiling and move their arms and legs...This is how flies walk on the ceiling!

If you were a fly, where would you fly to? Write down their stories.

Stories and Fingerplays

There are so many choices of books and fingerplays for this theme. Many are listed below under the Library section on this page. Be sure to include lots and lots of non-fiction books. Show the pictures and talk about them as a group!

Return to Top

Cooking Recipes

Snack Recipe Ideas to Cook Up for Your Bugs and Insects Theme!

Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific Space theme questions while making these fun snacks!

Make a Bug

Ingredients and Items needed: Cherry tomatoes, pretzel sticks, raisins, ranch dressing

The children use the tomatoes as bugs and insects body parts-pretzel sticks for legs and the ranch dressing to "glue" raisin eyes on!

Ants In Your Pants

Ingredients and Items Needed: Bread (cut into pants shapes); spread (or cheese) and raisins

The children spread the bread and add raisin "ants" to their pants!

Return to Top

Dramatic Play Ideas

Bugs and Insects Theme Ideas to Transform Your Dramatic Play Area

Picnic Interrupted!

Materials: Picnic basket, tablecloth or small blanket to have the picnic on; play food and plates and, of course, plastic bugs to interrupt the picnic with!

Bugs and Insects Dress Up

Purchase or make different types of bug wings, and bug legs (use extra fabric to sew together and stuff for the kids to wear and have 6 legs like an insect!).

Bug Scientist Laboratory

Take the curiousity of bugs into your dramatic play area! Bring your science table with your dead bugs in jars, plastic bugs and insects and magnifying glasses into the dramatic play area. Add goggles and home made journals for your budding scientists to record what they see!

Return to Top

Easel Ideas

Bugs and Insects Theme Ideas for your Easel--More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)

Bug Painting This idea was submitted by Katrina in BC, Canada

Materials needed: small, plastic bugs and insects; yogurt lids or other small, plastic lids

Have the children paint using bugs instead of brushes! The yogurt sized lids should fit in your easel tray.

Thank you Katrina!!

Return to Top

Gross Motor Games

Bugs and Insects Theme Large Group Games that help build their muscles while they have fun together

Parachute Your Bugs!

This idea was submitted by Vanessa M. from New Mexico, USA

Place stuffed animal type insects in the middle of the parachute to shake off! Vanessa's group places a stuffed grasshopper in. They have make the grass hopper "hop" by shaking the parachute and continue shaking until the grasshopper "hops" out!

You can do the same with other stuffed insects you have: make the butterfly-fly the bee-buzz, etc.!

Thanks Vanessa for this GREAT idea!

The next two ideas were submitted by Karen from Indianapolis, IN, USA

Bug, Bug, Insect

Play this as you would the infamous Duck, Duck Goose Game!

Bug/Insect Relay

Have the kids relay to the opposite side of the room to choose a bug or insect (small, plastic counter or stuffed animal bug!) and bring it back to the next person in their line!

Thanks Karen for these GREAT ideas!

Return to Top

Library and Literacy

Bugs and Insects Theme Ideas for Your Library and Literacy Activities for your Preschool Classroom

Book Suggestions for the Library

The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle

How Many Bugs In A Box by David A Carter (GREAT book!)

The Icky Bug... by Jerry Pallotta He has The Icky Bug Counting Book, The Icky Bug Alphabet

In The Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming

The Itsy, Bitsy, Spider Any Version!

Ladybugs: Red, Fiery, and Bright by Mia Posada

The Very Greedy Bee by Steve Smallman

The Very Lazy Ladybug by Isobel Finn and Jack Tickle (This is one of my FAVORITES!)

The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle

There are SO many bugs and insects books to choose from! Check out your local library and Don't Forget to get lots of non-fiction books so that the children can see real pictures as well!

FINGERPLAYS

Here is the Beehive

Here is the beehive. Where are the bees? (hold up one fist)

Hidden away where nobody sees. (move other hand around your fist)

Watch and you'll see them come out of the hive (move head close to your fist)

One, two, three, four , five! (Hold up fingers one at a time)

Buzzzzzzzz...all fly away! (wave fingers as you move your hand away from you).

1,2,3

1,2,3 (hold up fingers one at a time)

There's a bug on me!

Where did it go? (Brush your clothes off)

I Don't Know! (look around and the shrug and look confused!)

8 Ants

One ant, two ants, three ants, four.

Our picnic is their grocery store.

Five ants, six ants, seven ants, eight.

They are crawling on my plate!

Eight ants, seven ants, stomp around.

Six ants, five ants, on the ground.

Four ants, three ants, On the run!

Two ants, one ant, no more fun!

Return to Top

Math And Manipulatives Activities

Bugs and Insects Theme activities to help your Preschoolers develop those small muscles in their hands!

Cup Counting

Materials: plastic insects, cups

In advance, program cups to have the numbers you are working on with the children.

The children then count out the correct number of bugs to place in each cup.

EXTENSION: To work on small muscle control in addition to counting, provide plastic tweezers or tongs for the children to use to pick up each insect.

Patterns

Materials: Bug stamps, stamp pads and paper

Encourage the children to make up bug patterns such as ant, beetle, ant, beetle or ant, ant, beetle, ant, ant, beetle.

They can color them in using a pattern as well!

How Many Bees?

Materials Needed: White paper, markers, yellow stamp pad

In advance, divide the paper into 6 or more rows.

On the left side of each row, write in the numbers you are working on with the children (1,2,3,4,5 or others)

The children use the yellow stamp pad to press their thumb or finger into and place the appropriate number of thumbprint bees on each row.

The children then use the markers to add antennae, legs and wings.

Counting and Coloring Bugs and Insects

Materials: Large piece of paper, bugs and insects stamps, stamp pads, single dice, markers

Use the stamps to stamp lots and lots of bugs and insects on the paper.

Let dry.

The children take turns rolling the dice and coloring in that number of bugs.

VARIATION: For individual counting, have each child make their own paper to work on!

Ant Leaves

Materials: Green paper with leaf shapes drawn on them; scissors; hole punchers.

The children cut out the leaves and then hole punch away! They can draw ants on the leaves (or give them stickers!) if they want.

Great activity to get those muscles developed!

Return to Top

Music and Movement

Bugs and Insects Theme Music and Movement Activities and Ideas to get your Preschoolers Movin' and Groovin'!

This idea was submitted by Karen from Indianapolis, IN, USA

Ants Musical Chairs

Play the song "The Ants Go Marching" while playing musical chairs!

note from Preschool Plan-It We usually have enough chairs for each child and NOT take a chair away...limit the competetiveness.

Thanks Karen for this GREAT idea!

Lady Bugs and Insects

Explain to the children that ladybugs are very helpful. They eat insects that may try ot eat or hurt our fruits and vegetables!

Have the children act this out:

Ladybug, ladybug...let me see you crawl!

Hurry after those harmful bugs....

But be careful not to fall!

Bugs, bugs, bugs!

sung to the tune of Frere Jacques

Big bugs, small bugs, big bugs, small bugs,

See them crawl. See them crawl.

Creeping, creeping, crawling, never, never falling

Bugs, bugs, bugs! Bugs, bugs, bugs!

Thin bugs, fat bugs, thin bugs, fat bugs

See them crawl, on the wall.

Creeping, creeping, crawling, never, never falling

Bugs, bugs, bugs! Bugs, bugs, bugs!

There's a Bug on My Back!

There's a bug on my back, on my back!

There's a bug on my back, on my back!

There's a bug on my back! Get it off with a gentle smack!

There's a bug on my back, on my back!

Make up other lines! Have fun with it!

There's a bug on my nose....I just stood there and froze...there's a bug on my nose...etc.

Insects and Spiders Song

sung to the tune of Wheels on the Bus

The bugs in the air fly up and down,

Up and down, up and down.

The bugs in the air fly up and down,

All through the day!

The spiders on the bush spin a web....

The crickets in the field hop up and down...

The bees in the hive go buzz, buzz, buzz....

Insects All Around

sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star..kind of! Make up your own tune!

Lady bugs and butterflies,

Buzzing bees up in the sky.

Teeny, tiny little ants,

Crawling up and down the plants.

Many insects can be found

In the sky and on the ground.

VARIATION: You could also have these different types of bugs and insects and show each one doing the movements as you say this as a poem.

(cup your hands together) I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee.

Won't my Mommy be so proud of me.

I'mm bringing home a baby bumblebee.

OUCH! It stung me! (shake hands as though you were just stung!)

(Now, wring hands together)

I'm squishing up the baby bumblebee,

Won't my Mommy be so proud of me,

I'm squishing up the baby bumblebee.

Ewwww, It's yucky! (Open hands to look at the yuck!)

(Now start wiping hands on pants)

I'm wiping of the baby bumblebee,

Won't my Mommy be so proud of me.

I'm wiping off the baby bumblebee.

(show clean hands)

Buzzing 'Round the Room

sung to the tune of When Johnny Comes Marching Home

A bee is buzzing 'round the room

Buzz-Buzz, Buzz-buzz.

A bee is buzzing 'round the room

Buzz-Buzz, Buzz-buzz.

It will buzz around the room once more

And then it will buzz right out the door.

And we'll all be happy

When the bee is gone once more!

Return to Top

Sand and Water Table

Bugs and Insects Theme Activities for the Senses!

Creepy, Crawly Bugs and Insects

Add plastic bugs and insects into your sensory table hidden in the sand with spoons and cups to catch them!

Dirty Bugs

Instead of sand, place soil and dirt into the table with plastic bugs. We've also added grass, leaves and twigs from outside to the soil.

If you are concerned about allergies, you could add green plastic grass (they type used in Easter Baskets) to the soil or sand in the table.

Return to Top

Science Activities

Bugs and Insects Theme Science Activities--for your Preschool Scientists in Training!

Catch Some Bugs and Insects....Really!

Get some jars with covers or use bug catcher ups if you have them. Take them outside and look for bugs to investigate. Let them free before going in.

We've also caught dead bugs and brought them in to our science center for investigation!

Bee Hives

Materials: If you can find one, bring an old bee hive or nest into your classroom for the children to explore!

Crickets!

You can find live crickets in pet stores. Purchase about a dozen of them and observe them in your classroom! Research first, with the children, what they eat, when they sleep etc.

Water Bugs

Materials Needed: clear cup, seltzer water, raisins

Fill cup about 3/4 full with the seltzer water. Drop in a few raisins and watch!

The "bugs" will begin diving to the bottom then up to the top again. Guess why this might happen.

Then explain that the bubbles from the bubbly water get trapped in the folds of the raisins and as they pop, off go the bugs!

Return to Top

Writing Activities

Writing Activity Ideas for Your Preschool Classroom's Bugs and Insects Theme!

That's Buggy!

Encourage the children to draw a picture about bugs that bug them! They can print the names of their bugs, or you can help them do that!

Return to Top

Miscellaneous Ideas

Miscellaneous Activities for Your Preschool Classroom's Bugs and Insects Theme!

Bugs and Insects Theme Field Trips

Visit a Pet Store

Take a trip to a local pet store that sells bugs and insects as feed to check them out!

Bugs and Insects Theme Classroom Visitors

Some ideas for visitors:

Call a local farm to find out if they raise bees. Can that person come in and talk to the kids about bees?

Looking for a CATERPILLARS AND BUTTERFLIES Theme?

CLICK HERE to go to the CATERPILLARS AND BUTTERFLIES Theme Page

Return to Top

Go to the MAIN THEMES page from this Bugs and Insects Theme Page

Return to Preschool Plan-It Home Page